In 2020 they took a beating, and that cannot happen again in 2021. We must let them fully open, let them fill their niche in our economy, let them prosper and hire the many workers they need. We must remember that the big stores get more breaks than they do, but the money small businesses create rolls over in our local economy more.
In the mad dash to hold "corporations" responsible, the baby gets thrown out with the bath water. Mom and Pop businesses may be set up as corporations, but they're just the same family business they've always been. The corporate format is used because it has certain legal and economic advantages. There is no comparison between your typical Mom and Pop business and one of the companies publicly traded on the New York Stock Exchange. Big business does need oversight and regulation, but small business needs a lighter burden, so it can employ more citizens.
You would think we would value creating jobs over selling goods manufactured in other countries, but we don't. We load up Mom and Pop with all sorts of rules, regulations and requirements, from what kind of toilet they keep at the business for customers to benefits they must provide employees.
The whole notion that employers should be tasked with providing health care and other benefits to employees seems one that doesn't work very well. We've created a whole new world of indentured servants, as people with health issues and good insurance with their current employer cannot afford to leave their job because it would mean losing their insurance coverage. One employee with a major health problem, and suddenly a Mom and Pop business is faced with premiums for the whole company that they cannot afford.
Before the 2020 crash of small businesses I spoke with a restaurant owner who had over 50 employees. He was literally sick about the prospect of having to get coverage for his employees. He pays over $1000 a month for his own policy, and it falls short. He does not know if he'll be able to keep the business open if he has to provide coverage he simply cannot afford for his employees. With so many small businesses cut to the bone by the 2020 shutdowns, the burdens on those businesses are even greater.
One thing seems certain: any requirement upon small businesses that they provide health care benefits will result in an immediate loss of jobs by many workers.
Affordable health care for all citizens is a noble goal. Medicare has become a mainstay for many citizens, and our seniors swear by it. We know we can devise smart plans. But placing Mom and Pop businesses in a hammer lock and forcing them to provide health care is not a good idea. We keep pricing American businesses out the market, then lamenting their demise when they're replaced by some third world supplier who isn't similarly constrained or burdened.
The main benefits Mom and Pop businesses provide are giving our communities services and jobs. Making them provide health care, while a worthy cause, is wrong. Most small businesses should not be tasked with providing health care to employees.
Copyright 2021, Jim “Pappy” Moore. All rights reserved.